FOSS Patents: If Google can cancel Acer's license, why should Apple have to grant one to Google?:

Acer is a member of the Google-dominated "Open Handset Alliance" and was about to release a smartphone running an Android fork named Aliyun, which was created by Alibaba, a Chinese Google competitor, but Google essentially says: "you're with us or you're against us". You can be a member of the OHA and an official licensee of Android, or you want to distribute forks (derivative programs), in which case we'll throw you out of the OHA and cancel your official Android license. Google got its way.

Android's non-openness is old news, and nothing I could say would counterbalance the deafening silence and open double standards of various "free software" and "open source" luminaries and entities.

It's strange, but endlessly fascinating, how corporations configure themselves around Free and open source licensing. Some places use GPL'd software on their server, but argue that's not distribution, so they're not under any obligation to release the source (I've forgotten how the argument goes, but I've worked for people who claim it). Others, like that bizzarre kickup around MySQL, have strange forks of code into Free and non-Free codebases. Did MySQL really never incorporate anything submitted by the community? Or there's the dual licensed stuff, which really isn't a huge deal unless you're doing it retroactively, like Mozilla, where, iirc, some stuff had to be rewritten before the new licensing was done.

And here, it's not the code so much as the access to the coders. Support is worth as much as the code in some cases, especially when the code is especially complex, like I'm assuming Android is. Probably more important here is early access to Google's R&D, which Acer stands to lose if its most favored nation status is revoked.

It's hard not to exploit Free software. Apple didn't always play nice with WebKit and Darwin (and still doesn't give back everything, I'm sure), and, in Darwin's case, wasn't under any compulsion to do so. With webkit, we're lucky to have an Apple that follows the LGPL as closely as they do, I'm afraid. Android, in my opinion, pretty obviously stole some of Java. GPL'd software has been discovered in a number of closed source products.

Google's maneuvering of cultural affiliation, loosely de/coupled with and from open source software, is the obvious move.

I wonder if RMS would (or, perhaps better asked, should) even be against what Google is doing. Should you get to see Free software as it's being developed, before it's released? Is Android the perfect example of how open source can power commerce?

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